BETHANY, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma currently leads the nation in all-terrain vehicle deaths with eight since January.
From 2019 to 2021, OU Health saw 314 pediatric hospitalizations and 11 fatalities due to ATV-related incidents.
These are trends local health and safety leaders are hoping to help change.
Thirteen years ago, a ride on an ATV changed Aaron Bullock’s life forever.
“I wasn’t driving fast or crazy or anything like that but I started driving on a sandy road and I flipped,” Bullock said.
Bullock suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.
He wasn’t wearing a helmet.
As he recovered, he lived at the Bethany Children’s Health Center for two years.
“They had to teach me how to walk, talk, and eat, and pretty much re-learn how to do everything all over again,” Bullock said.
ATV safety expert Mike Klumpp says, sadly, stories like Bullock’s are all too common.
“It only takes a moment for something to go wrong,” Klumpp said.
He says the first step to safety is a watchful eye.
“Parents, control the keys,” Klumpp said. “They need to supervise their young people, especially kids under age 16.”
He says all riders should wear a DOT-compliant helmet and safety gear.
Additionally, ride the right ATV that aligns with your age and size.
“That’s where a lot of young people get seriously injured,” Klumpp said. “They can’t physically control or fit the ATV.”
When it comes to these vehicles, sharing is not caring.
“Parents, don’t take your kids for rides on ATVs,” Klumpp said. “I can tell some stories that are pretty sad about doing those types of things.”
“Love the helmet, that’s all I’m saying,” said Bullock.
Many crashes with these vehicles are on paved surfaces.
The tires can stick and cause the machine to flip.
You can find more safety guidelines and resources at this website.